About Us


Harmony Forum

Peace from Harmony
Brazilian contribution to a culture of harmonious civilization
Lia Diskin

II Brazilian Congress of Health, Culture of Peace and Non Violence
May 10 -13, 2005
Cuiaba - Mato Grosso, Brazil.

During this Congress the Gandhi Network, and its 3 anchoring institutions: UNESCO, CONASEMS (National Council of Municipal Health Secretaries) and Associacao Palas Athena, will receive participants from 5700 Brazilian cities, inviting them to introduce culture of peace values in the daily activities and relationships of the health services, thus building the welfare of persons and communities throughout the country. Also, it will discuss the law that prohibits firearms sales in Brazil, in preparation to its referendum, that is to be held in October 2005.

The mission of Gandhi Network is to reduce violence in all of its aspects and manifestations and promote a culture of peace - the necessary condition for social coexistence and full development of the human beings. Its goals are to 1) provide culture of peace training; 2) Share information and knowledge related to its mission; 3) Support efficient public policies capable of mobilizing civil society; 4) Create opportunities of social inclusion; 5) Promote culture of peace talents and abilities; 6) Welcome diversity as a means to life quality; 7) Foster the creation and sustainability of programs, projects, and actions tuned with its mission. Among other activities, the Congress includes talks, workshops, and round-tables o­n the following subjects:

* Health
* Conflict mediation
* Disarmament and health
* Welcoming and making health services more human
* Culture of peace and nonviolence values
* Community therapy
* The roots of violence and the family
* Art as a tool to promote peace and health

For more information in Portuguese please visit www.conasems.org.br
And in English, please contact liapalasathena@uol.com.br

Culture of Peace.
Decision of the State Assembly of São Paulo


RESOLUTION No. 13/ 2002, for the creation of the Parliamentary Council for a Culture of Peace

The Presiding Officers of the São Paulo State Assembly adopt the following Resolution:

SECTION 1 -The Parliamentary Council for a Culture of Peace is hereby created as a decision-making body that will operate o­n a permanent basis, having its seat in the São Paulo State Assembly.

SOLE PARAGRAPH. The Council will be in charge of developing, coordinating, supervising and assessing parliamentary policies for the implementation of a culture of peace having the following duties:

1.Develop guidelines and suggest activities conducive to parliamentary and community manifestations in favor of peace, and take effective measures for the achievement of such goals in social, economic, political, philosophical, religious, and cultural scenarios;

2.Suggest action to be taken by the Government;

3.Provide assistance to the Legislative Branch by issuing opinions and following up the preparation and implementation of parliamentary actions in matters pertaining to community manifestations in favor of a culture of peace;

4.Carry out studies, debates and research o­n the pursuit of ideals committed to a culture of peace in this State, and o­n the compliance with the provisions of international treaties;

5.Develop projects o­n its own initiative to encourage engagement of society as a whole in the ideals described herein;

6.Support actions in furtherance of the policies mentioned in the Sole Paragraph and in item 5 above, and promote discussions and exchanges with local and international social organizations and movements sharing the same ideals; and

Draft its By-Laws for approval by the Presiding Officers of the State Assembly.

SECTION 2 - The Council will be composed of 48 (forty-eight) members and their substitutes, chosen from among representatives of social organizations and movements committed to a culture of peace, and members of the Legislative Branch appointed by the President of the State Assembly according to the following proportions:

I - 36 (thirty-six) representatives from the aforesaid social organizations and movements;

II - 12 (twelve) assembly members.

PARAGRAPH 1. Council members will be appointed at the indication of relevant social organizations and movements committed to a culture of peace, as duly accredited with the Presiding Officers of the State Assembly.

PARAGRAPH 2. Assembly members will be nominated by Party Leaders from among members having an affinity with the subject, and will be appointed by the President of the State Assembly, who will ensure, as much as possible, proportional representation of all Parties.

SECTION 3 - The service of council members will not receive any compensation, but will be deemed to be a relevant public service.

SECTION 4 - Council members will be appointed for a term of 2 (two) years, o­ne consecutive reappointment being permitted, according to the By-Laws.

SECTION 5 - The Presiding Officers of the Parliamentary Council for a Culture of Peace will be chosen by the President of the State Assembly from among the council members.

SECTION 6 - At the beginning of their term of office, the Presiding Officers of the State Assembly will present the members of the Parliamentary Council for a Culture of Peace to the assembly members and the community.

SECTION 7 - The Legislative Branch will provide the Council with such human and material resources as it may require for its operations.

SECTION 8 - This resolution will become effective o­n the date of its publication.


The United Nations has dedicated the year 2000 to a culture of peace with the purpose of consolidating a culture of peace among countries, ethnic groups, religious traditions, spiritual segments, and promoting tolerance in face of the differences underlying humankind. This campaign has, among other merits, that of guiding action and commitment toward a culture of peace for many organizations and social movements, and highlighting the importance of daily activities in favor of peace. During 2001, however, we have witnessed growing conflicts, intolerance, and violence, as well as the breach of hard-won peace agreements.

Given this international scenario and the challenges posed by our own society, the building of a culture of peace requires permanent activity o­n the part of the Legislative Branch, thus justifying the creation of a Parliamentary Council for a Culture of Peace, as proposed in this Draft Resolution.

Assembly Hall, October 31, 2002 (This resolution is accepted in January, 2003)

Walter Feldman - President

HamiltonPereira - First Secretary

Dorival Braga - Second Secretary

Section 1 The Parliamentary Council for a Culture of Peace, established under Resolution No. 829 of December 17, 2002, is a permanent, decision-making council that shall have its seat at the São Paulo State Assembly and shall be governed by these By-laws.
Sole Paragraph The name Parliamentary Council for a Culture of Peace and the acronym ConPAZ are equivalent and shall both be used for purposes of reference and communication.


Section 2 The purposes of ConPAZ are as follows:
I. Develop, coordinate, supervise and assess parliamentary policies with respect to actions conducive to a Culture of Peace;
II. Mobilize, bring together and create awareness in leaders, authorities, organizations and institutions with a view to engagement in a Culture of Peace based o­n the guiding principles set forth in Manifesto 2000 sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), namely:
a. Respect the life and dignity of each human being without discrimination or prejudice;
b. Practice active non-violence, rejecting violence in all its forms: physical, sexual, psychological, economic and social, in particular towards the most deprived and vulnerable such as children and adolescents;
c. Share time and material resources in a spirit of generosity to put an end to exclusion, injustice and political and economic oppression;
d. Defend freedom of expression and cultural diversity, giving preference always to dialogue and listening without engaging in fanaticism, defamation and the rejection of others;
e. Promote consumer behavior that is responsible and development practices that respect all forms of life and preserve the balance of nature o­n the planet; and
f. Contribute to the development of our community, with the full participation of women and respect for democratic principles, in order to create together new forms of solidarity.


Duties, Organization and Bodies of the ConPAZ
Section 3 - The powers and duties of ConPAZ are as follows:
I. Develop guidelines and propose activities conducive to community and parliamentary manifestations that foster peace, as well as take action for the achievement of such goal in the social, economic, political, philosophical, religious and cultural arenas;
II. Suggest governmental action;
III. Assist the legislative branch by issuing opinions and following the preparation and implementation of parliamentary action involving community manifestations in support of a Culture of Peace;
IV. Review bills in light of the criteria for a Culture of Peace and report o­n such matters whenever required;
V. Conduct studies, discussions and research related to the pursuit of ideals supportive of a Culture of Peace in the State of São Paulo and to the compliance with international treaties;
VI. Carry out projects designed to encourage society as a whole to take part in activities in furtherance of the aforementioned ideals; and
VII. Support the efforts mentioned in items I and V as well as conduct discussions with and promote exchanges between local and international social movements and organizations sharing the same ideals.
Section 4 The Council shall be composed of 48 (forty-eight) members and a like number of alternates, who shall be chosen from among representatives of organizations and social movements committed to a Culture of Peace and members of the legislative branch to be appointed by the President of the State Assembly, in the following proportion:
I 36 (thirty-six) representatives of organizations and social movements as mentioned above;
II 12 (twelve) State representatives.
Paragraph 1 - The members referred to in item I above shall be chosen by the relevant organizations or social movements committed to a Culture of Peace, as duly accredited by the Presiding Officers of the São Paulo State Assembly, pursuant to Paragraph 1 of Section 2 of Resolution No. 829/2002.
Paragraph 2 - For this purpose, interested entities shall address an official letter both to the Presiding Officers of the São Paulo State Assembly and ConPAZ, enclosing their by-laws or equivalent document, as well as evidence that their activities are in keeping with the objectives listed in Sections 2 and 3 hereof.
Paragraph 3 - The members that are State representatives shall be nominated by party leaders from among those representatives having greater affinity with the matter at hand, and shall be appointed by the President of the State Assembly, who shall as far as possible ensure proportional representation of all parties.
Paragraph 4 - Appointment of representatives may not take place after the first half of the month of April of each biennial period, subject to reappointment as contemplated in Paragraphs 7 and 8 of this section.
Paragraph 5 In addition to the member organizations that comprise ConPAZ, supporting organizations shall also be included in order to further develop activities and bring initiatives to the process, provided, however, that such supporting organizations shall not have a right to vote in the Plenary Assembly.
Paragraph 6 Service as a member of ConPAZ shall not be compensated but shall be regarded as relevant public service.
Paragraph 7 The members of ConPAZ shall have a term of office of two years, o­ne consecutive reappointment being permitted.
Paragraph 8 - Reappointment as stated in Paragraph 7 shall be determined by a drawing of lots, provided that 2/3 of the members shall retain their offices at the end of a first term of office and 1/3 shall retain their offices at the end of a second term of office, o­n a successive and alternating basis.
Paragraph 9 - Should there be no other organizations interested in joining ConPAZ, such rotation shall be suspended and member organizations shall serve for another term of office.
Paragraph 10 When choosing new member organizations, preference shall be given to those which have participated as supporting organizations for at least o­ne year.


Section 5 The bodies of the ConPAZ are as follows:
I. Plenary Assembly;
II. Executive Commission;
III. Special Commissions; and
IV. Theme Commissions.
Section 6 The Plenary Assembly shall be organized according to the provisions of Section 4 hereof and its members shall have the following powers and duties:
I. Review, discuss and take action, where appropriate and relevant, o­n matters brought before ConPAZ;
II. Submit proposals for initiatives with respect to a Culture of Peace to the legislative, executive and judicial branches and to the community;
III. Request for examination any relevant documents being considered by any body, whether already approved or otherwise;
IV. Request that the Executive Commission call a special meeting to review any relevant issues, according to Section 9 below;
V. Propose the inclusion of any item in the agenda for meetings, including any subsequent meetings, as well as discuss beforehand any items included in such agenda, where justified;
VI. Propose the creation of Special and Theme Commissions;
VII. Record in the minutes any dissenting view, where the opinion of his or her entity or body, or his or her opinion, is at variance with majority opinion;
VIII. Suggest that invitations be made to persons capable of making significant contributions to the issues dealt with by ConPAZ;
IX. Propose new organizations to join ConPAZ as supporting members in furtherance of Sections 2 and 3 hereof, so as to broaden the scope of the Culture of Peace network; and
X. Approve, according to Paragraph 5 of Section 9 hereof, a motion for amendment to these By-laws, upon a request by 1/3 of its members.
Sole Paragraph Addition of supporting organizations shall take place according to criteria that make for diversity so as to avoid a concentration of power. Such addition shall follow specific regulations.
Section 7 The absence of any acting members and their alternates shall be justified to the Executive Commission.
Section 8 The Plenary Assembly shall take action o­n the termination of any acting member or alternate that during his or her term of office fails to attend, without justification, four consecutive plenary sessions or four nonconsecutive plenary sessions.
Paragraph 1 - Terminated members shall be replaced by individuals from supporting organizations that have been working alongside ConPAZ for the longest periods of time, according to a resolution of the Plenary Assembly.
Paragraph 2 - Any State representative members that are terminated shall be replaced by other representatives appointed by the Presiding Officers of the State Assembly, subject to Paragraph 3 of Section 4.
Paragraph 3 A terminated member shall be replaced within no more than 60 calendar days from date of termination by nomination of a new organization from among those accredited by the Presiding Officers of the State Assembly.
Paragraph 4 If a member organization is terminated, replacement shall be made by appointment of the Plenary Assembly at a session next following the date of termination.
Paragraph 5 - The proposals presented to the Plenary Assembly and any commissions shall preferably be approved by consensus of those in attendance. Discussions prior to such consensus may not occupy more than two successive meetings of the Plenary Assembly and/or any commission. If a consensus is not reached, the proposal shall be put to a vote and shall be approved by the affirmative vote of 2/3 of the members present.
Paragraph 6 - The quorum for the Plenary Assembly and its commissions to transact business shall be an absolute majority of the members thereof.
Section 9 The Executive Commission has the following powers and duties, in addition to others stated in these By-laws or arising from their functions or prerogatives:
I. Represent ConPAZ and/or propose to the Plenary Assembly the nomination of a representative;
II. Coordinate plenary sessions and record the minutes thereof;
III. Be in charge of the internal and external communications of ConPAZ;
IV. Speak to the press and/or act as liaison between ConPAZ and the media;
V. Centralize and disseminate information o­n ConPAZ, serving as a source of reference for members and interested parties seeking information;
VI. Monitor the activities of Special and Theme Commissions;
VII. Monitor the Special Commission in charge of proposing amendments to or revisions of the By-laws;
VIII. Collate information from documents and letters of interest to ConPAZ;
IX. Initiate the organization of events;
X. Serve as liaison between members, supporters and leaders in the State Assembly and the community at large;
XI. Invite individuals or organizations to take part in plenary sessions without a right to vote;
XII. Issue invitations to individuals or organizations to take part in the meetings of Theme Commissions, with a right to submit motions. Such motions may o­nly be presented to the Plenary Assembly after discussion and approval by Theme Commissions; and
XIII. Take urgent measures, submitting them to confirmation by the Plenary Assembly at the next following session.


Section 10 Special Commissions shall be created by a resolution of the Plenary Assembly. They shall be coordinated by o­ne or more members of ConPAZ, shall have specific functions and shall be terminated o­nce their objectives have been achieved.
Paragraph Special Commissions may invite outside persons and organizations to offer supporting materials and information.
Section 11 The reports, opinions and proposals generated by the proceedings of Special Commissions shall be brought before the Plenary Assembly of ConPAZ by the relevant reporting member.
Sole Paragraph A Special Commission shall elect its reporting member.


Section 12 Theme Commissions shall be created by a resolution of the Plenary Assembly and shall be composed of ConPAZ members in the exercise of their powers and duties under Section 3 hereof.
Sole Paragraph The resolution of the Plenary Assembly that creates a Theme Commission shall define its functions and composition.
Section 13 The reports, opinions and proposals generated by the proceedings of Theme Commissions shall be brought before the Plenary Assembly of ConPAZ by the relevant reporting member.
Sole Paragraph A Theme commission shall elect its reporting member.


Section 14 The meetings of the Plenary Assembly shall take place o­nce a month. Special and Theme Commissions shall meet according to a timetable established in advance.
Section 15 Minutes shall be kept of each meeting, as prepared by the Executive Commission and signed by all members present, such minutes to be read and approved at the next following meeting.
Sole Paragraph The Plenary Assembly may waive the reading of the minutes.
Section 16 Cases with respect to which these By-laws are silent shall be disposed of by the Executive Commission and shall then be submitted to a decision by the Plenary Assembly.
Section 17 These By-laws shall take effect o­n the date of their publication.
Lia Diskin


ASSOCIAÇÃO PALAS ATHENA promotes, manages, and incubates programs and projects in the area of Education, Health, Human Rights, Environmental Preservation, and Social Promotion in order to enhance human relationships by means of bringing together diverse cultures and articulating different sources of knowledge. It is a non-profit organization of the civil society founded in 1972 in Sao-Paulo, Brazil.

All of its activities spring from the program Permanent Education for Thought and Action, in which the institutional vocation for fostering constant dialogue among peoples, cultures, and different sources of knowledge is made patent.

Associação Palas Athena is not sponsored by national or international governmental or private institutions. From the very beginning its projects and activities have been funded by the management of its own resources. Its 4 units count with the help of 101 employees, over 100 volunteers, and a network of partnerships with governmental and non-governmental organizations, social movements, and enterprises.

Our 4 units are:

CASA DOS PANDAVAS PEDAGOGICAL CENTRE. A rural school that attends 140 children, from 6 to 14 years old, without charge. The school is in Monteiro Lobato, a small town in the inland of the State of São Paulo. Its pedagogical project is based o­n the principles of human harmonious relations from different social groups, focused o­n solidarity, and integrated to the local community.

PALAS ATHENA PUBLISHING HOUSE. Developes editorial projects and publishes titles that are reference in the areas of philosophy, education, mythology, psychology, anthropology, and social science. Publishes our Thot, a journal that has been issued for 30 years, and which brings articles o­n contemporary themes and future trends.

PALAS ATHENA PRINTING OFFICE. Specialized in books and didactic materials, renders services to several publishing houses and educational institutions; also meets the needs of our Centre of Philosophical Studies, and provides funding for our Pedagogical Centre.

CENTRE OF PHILOSOPHICAL STUDIES. Develops social and educational programs and projects for the network of citizen participation. Advances the Permanent Education for Thought and Action program. Promotes the study of African, Oriental, native Latin-American, and Occidental philosophies. Its courses, seminars, round tables, workshops, conferences and artistic presentations receive over 10 thousand persons a year.

The program Permanent Education for Thought and Action contains the following units:

  • Introduction to Philosophical Thought
  • Ethics Frontiers/Civilizations/Values/Culture of Peace
  • History of Philosophy General Perspective/
  • Tradition and Transgression
  • Attention, Concentration, and Meditation Practices
  • Self-perception and Self-management
  • The Sacred in the perspective of History and Faith
  • Training of Multipliers in Ethics
  • Training of Facilitators in Dialogue for Conversation Networks

Guided by the program above, other programs and projects were developed with institutional partners, which are carried out in several cities and states of Brazil.

Training in Universal Values, Ethics and Citizenship for Teachers

Trains teachers, principles, and other professionals in the educational segment to work as agents of Culture of Peace and Non-violence promotion in their schools, including the families and communities involved. The main goal of this program is to promote values such as the respect for life, caring, dialogue, cooperation, awareness of prejudices, valuing of diversity and welcoming of differences.

  • Priceless Values Seminar
  • Peace in Action Culture of Peace Leadership Training (in partnership with UNESCO)
  • Peace Teachers (in Araçatuba and Birigui, São Paulo State)

Health, Culture of Peace, and Non-violence

Programs for the Public Health Network in several Brazilian cities developed in partnership with civil society. It is based o­n the principle of Welcoming as the art of interacting, building a common ground, discovering our mutual humanity and ability of caring for others and for the environment. These activities aim at preventing and mitigate violence.

  • Ethics of Welcoming
  • Gandhi Network: Health, Culture of Peace and Non-violence (in partnership with UNESCO and CONASEMS).
  • Sentinel Project: Training in Values, Ethics, and Culture of Peace for prevention of violence (in partnership with Municipal Health, Education and Culture Departments, and Social Assistance Foundation of Caxias do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul State).


Many cultural projects and free entrance activities, alighned with the program for Permanente Education for Thought and Action, are chosen due to their ethical, intercultural and interdisciplinary approach, and developed by Brazilian and foreign teachers, instructors and specialists from universities, schools, educational and cultural institutes. They offer the community reflection and experiences of creation and insight by means of action and the process of defining goals, planning movements, reviewing priorities, and sharing results in a healthy way. They include seminars, courses, workshops, meetings, marches, retreats, bodily arts, talks, round tables, presentations, films, drama, music, and other events. In Araçatuba and Sorocaba activities are held in the Interação and Iluminattis institutes, respectively.


Training for social inclusion of children and youth by means of: allowing access to culture, art, sports, leisure and citizenship; offering relationship models based o­n the practice of ethics and universal values; and learning human values and professional ethics.

  • Open Door Capão Redondo, SP In partnership with the Municipal Health Department of São Paulo.
  • Adolescente Aprendiz São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Training course for ABN AMRO Bank.

Culture of Peace Consolidation of Citizenship

Program of citizen participation in networks and partnerships with public and private organizations, and also enterprises, based o­n an ethics of solidarity (to foster the art of good interrelationships, cooperation, and civil responsibility); participation in the management of public property and premises; preservation of the natural and social environments; practice of simpler living by avoiding waste and excess; valuing differences, welcoming, respecting and fostering diversity as a source of assets.

  • Peace Wants Partners
  • Escola Fersol Mairinque, SP
  • São Paulo Culture of Peace Decade Committee
  • Araçatuba Culture of Peace Decade Committee
  • Parliamentary Culture of Peace Advisory Boards
  • Remodeling of the Túlio Fontoura Square, in São Paulo, which will become Gandhi Square.
  • Culture of Peace Construction Volunteer Agency Araçatuba, SP

Special Projects

  • Palas Athena International Seminars
  • Gandhi Week
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Week
  • International Philosophy Week in Partnership with UNESCO
  • Celebration of the Seasons of the Year

Institutional partners:

Abaçaí Cultura e Arte / Aliança pela Infância / Associação Comunitária Monte Azul / Banco Real ABN AMRO / Brasfanta / Casa das Áfricas / CECCO Centro de Convivência e Cooperativa Santo Dias / CONASEMS Conselho Nacional de Secretários Municipais de Saúde / Consulado Geral e Embaixada da Índia / COPIPAZ Comitê Primeira Infância na Cultura de Paz / EMBRAER / Espaço Interação / Faculdade de Saúde Pública da USP / FERSOL / Gandhi Peace Foundation / GARP Grupo Ambientalista Ribeirão dos Pássaros Monteiro Lobato (SP) / Iluminattis / Imprensa Oficial do Estado de São Paulo / Instituto de Estudos do Futuro / IPAZ International Peace Agency / Joseph Campbell Foundation USA/ Natura / Projeto Cooperação e UNIMONTE Santos - SP / PUC São Paulo / Rede Gandhi: Saúde, Cultura de Paz e Não-violência / Rede Paz Rede de Educação para a Paz/ Secretaria de Estado da Cultura de São Paulo / Secretaria Municipal da Educação de São Paulo / Secretaria Municipal de Saúde de São Paulo / SENAC-SP / SESC-SP / Subprefeitura de Vila Mariana / UNESCO / UniFMU / Universidade de Caxias do Sul / Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul / UNIPAZ Universidade Holística Internacional Fundação Cidade da Paz / UPEACE Universidade para a Paz das Nações Unidas Costa Rica / URI United Religions Iniciative / VIVA RIO

For more details: www.palasathena.org

Lia Diskin,
PhD, Professor of Sociology, Sao-Paulo University, Brazil

Francisco Gomes de Matos
Applying the Pedagogy of Positiveness

Applying the Pedagogy of Positiveness to Diplomatic Communication by Francisco Gomes de Matos
Gomes de Matos, Francisco (2001). Applying the Pedagogy of Positiveness to Diplomatic Communication. In Jovan Kurblija and Hannah Slavik (Eds.) Language and Diplomacy.
Msida, Malta: DiploProjects.

This text was first published by DiploFoundation in their book Language and Diplomacy (2001).


Francisco Gomes de Matos
Departamento de Letras
Universidade Federal de
, Brazil

Introduction: Views of Communication

As o­ne of the key-concepts in human linguistic life, communication has prompted several definitions for linguists, for example, that term can broadly refer to every kind of mutual transmission of information using signs or symbols between living beings (humans, animals), as well as between people and data-processing machines. (Bussman, Hadumod Routledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics. Londonand New York, Routledge, 1996, p.83).

In its narrowest sense, however, communication can be taken as meaning The transmission and reception of information between a signaler and a receiver (Crystal, David The Penguin Dictionary of Language. Second edition.
London: Penguin Books, 1999, p.62).

If we look at perceptions of communication by communication theorists, we can come across characterizations such as these: Communication is the generation of meaning or that communication is a ubiquitous and powerful source in society (Bowers, John Waite and James J. Bradac, Contemporary Problems in Human Communication Theory, in Carroll C. Arnold and John Waite Bowers, Handbook of Rhetorical and Communication Theory.
Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1984, p.872, 874).

If we leave the language and communication sciences and turn to international relations, what interpretations of communication can we find? That it is a process of negotiation between states seeking to arrive at a mutually acceptable outcome o­n some issue or issues of shared concern (Cohen, Raymond Negotiating across Cultures. International communication in an interdependent world. Washington, D.C. United States Institute of Peace Press, 2nd ed., 1997, p. 9).

How about communication in diplomacy, or rather, among diplomats? Here is a definition taken from a dictionary for diplomats: Communication among diplomats is a two-way street: o­ne cannot expect to obtain much information unless o­ne is able and willing to convey information. (Karl Gruber,1983, quoted in Chas. Freeman, Jr., The Diplomats Dictionary. Revised edition, 1997, p. 49. Washington, D.C United States Institute of Peace Press).

What is shared in such definitions/characterizations? The shared nature of the process: Communication is first and foremost an act of sharing.

How do we communicate orally?

By sharing the language used in a particular context at a specific time, by interacting, by co-constructing a dialogue or a multilogue, by expressing our attitudes, emotions, feelings in a friendly or in an unfriendly manner, by relying o­n many nonverbal signals (body language, facial expressions), by sometimes emphasizing what is said -- content -- and sometimes emphasizing how it is said -- form, or we can communicate, more typically by integrating forms and meanings in contexts of use which can create different effects o­n our interlocutors. We can communicate by being explicit or by preferring implicit speech. We can communicate by hedging, by avoiding coming straight to the point, through purposely vague language. We can communicate by using not o­nly words but terms (typical of different professional fields), as for instance in International Relations, lexical items used for talking about anti-globalization: inhuman labor conditions, risky technology, abject poverty (cf. Varyrynen, Raimo, Anti-globalization movements at the crossroads, in Policy Brief. No.4, November 2000, p. 3.
Universityof NotreDame: Joan B. Kroc Institute).
As humans, we can communicate by expressing both positive and negative (or questionable) perceptions, by delivering both good and bad news, or by leaving out the positive side. We can communicate in socially responsible or irresponsible ways; in other ways, to bring out communicative harmony or disharmony. These reflections would lead us to questions such as: How are diplomats perceived? Why does there seem to be a practice of presenting diplomacy/diplomats negatively in books of quotations, for example? What would be the ratio of positive and negative perceptions of diplomats in such books, if a world bibliographic survey were conducted? How about diplomatic communication? How has it been described and why? What misperceptions are there concerning such process? What positive features and questionable features are being associated to the way diplomats communicate in speaking (face-to-face or o­n the telephone, etc) and in writing?

In a recent Conference held in
Maryland, U.S., in July last year, U.S.negotiators were described as tending to be explicit, legalistic, blunt, and optimistic. (Peace Watch, United States Institute of Peace Press, October 2000, Vol.VI, No. 6, p.1). Note that o­ne of the adjectives conveys a potential negative or questionable meaning: blunt (discourteous, abrupt, curt) What is it that sometimes leads negotiators to communicate in such questionable ways? What would seem to be missing in the linguistic/communicative preparation of diplomats?

When I was asked to share a little of the philosophy underlying my Pedagogy of Positiveness, it occurred to me that to make it transparent, I should state some of its Principles. Here they are:

Applying the Pedagogy of Positiveness to diplomatic communication: A Checklist

1. Emphasize what to say constructively. Avoid what not to say.

2. Implement diplomatic communication as a humanizing form of interaction. Definitions of diplomacy of the type Art + Science or Science + Art leave out the humanizing responsibility of diplomats communication.

3. Communicate national and international values constructively. What national values do diplomats communicate? How?

4. Learn to identify and to avoid potentially aggressive, insensitive, offensive, destructive uses of languages. Do your best to offset dehumanizing ways of communication, often the outcome of human communicative fallibility.

5. Think of the language you use as a peace-building, peace-making, peace-promoting force. Do you challenge yourself to transform your communicative competence into competence in communicative peace?

6. At all times, do your very best to view yourself positively, to view the diplomatic profession positively, to view life positively and to communicate such view as constructively as you can.

7. Learn to exercise your communicative rights and to fulfill your communicative responsibilities in a sensibly balanced way. Remember that you have the right to question and to criticize, but do so responsibly, in a human-dignifying manner.

8. Handle differences of opinion in a constructive way. Remember that negative talk tends to predominate or often dominate in face-to-face diplomatic interactions.

9. Treat others with respect by being as communicatively friendly as you can.

10. Choose your words o­n the basis of their Peace Power rather than o­n their strategic value alone. Communicative both tactfully and tactically.

11. Try to see and describe both sides of an issue. Challenge yourself to make balanced (rather than biased) statements. Dont be a polemicist.

12. Avoid hiding behind pompous language to question someone.

13. In reading diplomatic texts, look for fair comments. Try to reconstruct (infer) the method used by the authors. Learn to apply Discourse Analysis to your processing.

14. Avoid blurring the meanings of key words such as Politics. It is standard polemical practice to blur the meanings of Politics, etc.

15. It is a truism to state that no communication is neutral, so commit yourself to communicating as humanizingly as you can. Remember if language is definitional of what is human, constructive language use is definitional of what is humanizing in communication.

16. Communicatively, aim at linguistic probity and integrity.

17. Conflict can be managed to some extent, and so can language use, especially if you adopt a constructive perspective, for expressing your attitudes, beliefs, and emotions. What parts of a diplomats vocabulary (lexical repertoire) can be systematized for constructive communicative purposes?
Educate yourself in identifying positivizers in spoken and written texts in your field and challenge yourself to make increasing use of such constructive, human-dignifying adjectives, verbs, and nouns.

18. Learn to monitor more confrontational sentence types by replacing them with listener/reader friendly sentences.

Some Pleas/Recommendations

1. Considering the apparently widespread misperceptions of diplomats and diplomacy in the media and in reference works (see especially Books of Quotations), in the light of our Pedagogy of Positiveness, a plea is made for (present/emerging/future) diplomats to launch an international movement which would help build an accurate, fairer image of the work (being/to be) done by those who commit themselves to helping bring about a truly interdependent world, through the international discourse of diplomacy. Having come across small but convincing evidence that a positive, public perception of diplomats and their activity is urgently needed -- a plea is similarly made for organizations engaged in the education of diplomats to join in such cooperative effort.

2. Also considering that o­ne of the most salient positive senses of "diplomatic" -- to the public at large -- is that of " being tactful" or displaying a friendly attitude toward other human beings -- a plea is similarly made for that "positively marked sense of the term" to be capitalized o­n, through more research o­n the spoken/written vocabulary used in diplomatic communication as well as o­n the teaching of a constructive-human-dignifying use -- and monitoring -- of such lexicon to emerging/ future diplomats so that they can be deeply aware of language using as a great humanizing force in human interaction, especially in situations involving peace negotiation, mediation, and other challenging processes experienced by diplomats as true world citizens. o­ne of the strategies suggested for the semantic preparation of diplomats would be their sensitization to the functions of "positivizers" in diplomatic discourse (verbs, adjectives, and nouns which reflect/enhance inherently constructive actions and attributes or qualities in human beings). Another strategy would be that of learning how to read diplomatic texts constructively, by identifying "positivizers" in such texts: frequency of occurrence, potential impact, ratio of "positivizers" and "negativizers", confrontational types of sentence structures, types of hedging and vague uses of language, among other features.

3. Considering the pioneering nature of this Conference and the growing interest of linguists and other language-related interdisciplinarians in Political Discourse in general and the emerging interest of language-centred researchers o­n Diplomatic Discourse, a recommendation is made that that Conference be sustained and broadened -- through workshops, intensive Seminars, and other pre-Conference events which can enable participants to benefit from the expertise of specialists in the several language-focused domains of theoretical and practical relevance to the challenges of todays diplomacy.

4. Considering that Diplomacy has its own distinctive repertoire of terms -- cf. Chas. W.Freeman Jrs The Diplomats Dictionary.
Washington, D.C.: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1997. 2nd ed. -- and that a professions lexicon should realistically reflect collective decisions and choices -- another plea is made for a Project centered o­n a Dictionary of Diplomacy (as multilingual as possible) to be prioritized o­n the Agenda of Relevant Reference Works for the Preparation of Diplomats. What I have in mind is a collectively shared, international project which could very well be sponsored by this Conferences host institution: the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies.

5. Last but not least, a final plea is made for the study of Human Linguistic Rights to become a required subject in the education of diplomats. As promoters of "communicative peace" among persons, groups, and nations, diplomats need to become knowledgeable in that new category of human rights. A visit to the site of the Universal Declaration of Linguistic Rights (
www.linguistic-declaration.org) may give an idea of the breadth and depth of the insights which can inspire needed research o­n the communicative rights and responsibilities of diplomats. In short, it is my conviction that a Pedagogy of Positiveness can contribute to the education of diplomats, especially in close interaction with International Relations, Linguistics, Communication Science, Peace Psychology, Peace Linguistics, and Human Linguistic Rights, to name but a few of the contributory domains.

We have made some progress since the mid-seventies, when researchers attention was focused o­n DoubleSpeak (Cf. Daniel Dieterich, Editor, Teaching about DoubleSpeak.
Urbana, Illinois: National Council of Teachers of English, 1976. See especially the chapter o­n Guidelines for the Analysis of Responsibility in Governmental Communication, by Dennis Gouran, pp.20-32) to the present-day investigation of DiploDiscourse (for an example, see Ray T. Donahue and Michael H. Prosser, Diplomatic Discourse: International conflict at the United Nations -- Addresses and Analysis. Greenwich, Connecticut and London: Ablex Publishing Corporation, 1997) but much more should be accomplished if we are to start transforming Diplomatic Communication into dignified and dignifying discourse, thus contributing to harmonizing and humanizing an important domain within Political Discourse. For a suggested strategy o­n how to read a political text positively, see my article Harmonizing and humanizing Political Discourse: the contribution of peace linguistics, in Peace and Conflict. Journal of Peace Psychology. Vo. 6, No. 4, 2000, pp. 339-344. In short, if I may adapt my characterization of "communicating well" therein to the diplomatic context, I would say that "communicating well diplomatically means communicating for the well being of diplomatic interlocutors and, more broadly, for the well-being of humankind".

[IFLAC] Digest Number 927, Sunday, February 13, 2005

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